Children in Cycle 3 are in the developmental phase Maria Montessori called the age of ‘The Reasoning Mind’. Cycle 3 children commonly ask ‘How?’ and this therefore directs the learning activities developed for children aged 9-12 years.

The curriculum and methodology builds on the knowledge and skills established in the primary Cycle 2 class. However you will notice some differences. Students are involved in more work as a small / class group and the class is more community centred. This reflects the psychological development of this age group and their innate desire to interact more with their peers and the exploration of social skills and dynamics. Students typically have a strong sense of justice and are therefore keenly involved in class meetings and contribute to planning activities.

Materials continue to be available to students in the Cycle 3 Montessori classroom, although they are used less frequently as students become more abstract in their thinking and turn more towards pencil and paper or technology to support their learning.

Characteristics of a 9-12 year old

• reduced sense of order
• questioning / challenging
• strong sense of social justice
• defining own identity
• greater importance on peer relationships
• lessening dependence on family
• awareness of humour
• moodiness
• questions and looks at their place in the world
• gender awareness
• awareness of body changes
• able to negotiate
• able to ‘bend’ the rules / deal with the greyness of morality
• Sensitive periods- sensitive to social relationships and social realities


An emphasis on Responsible Independence & Self-Discipline

Classroom structures and learning programs provide students with the opportunity to :

  • Manage their own learning schedule and time
  • Have input to topic selection
  • Develop independent learning skills
  • Take risks in learning to extend themselves
  • Have class discussion of issues and group development of solutions
  • Examine issues of interest
  • Participate in a buddy system
  • Organise and participate in an extended camp
  • Have opportunities to develop leadership skills

Core skills

Expanding on and utilising students’ competency in literacy and numeracy is essential. Students further develop their skills by engaging in research, and literacy skills are developed through applied work utilising class and self-chosen research topics. Mathematical understanding is expanded through the specifically designed materials that demonstrate and develop conceptual understanding. This is linked to the application of these understandings.

Topics studied are often integrated and are designed to use and apply students’ understanding in a variety of ways. The development of conceptual understanding and the presentation of sequential information is supported by the use of scientifically designed educational materials.

Class Routines & Expectations

The Cycle 3 students:

  • Have periods of self managed work each day
  • Utilise their planning and recording
  • Fulfil curriculum expectations and meet agreed deadlines
  • Are expected to carry out set work on time
  • Are expected to hand up work completed to the best standard they can achieve
  • Participate in class discussions and meetings
  • Are challenged to stretch their personal ‘comfort zone’
  • Access the quality resources of the library

Features of Cycle 3

In Cycle 3 we aim to create a learning environment that acknowledges the growth in independence of the 9-12 year old child.

We ensure that transition to the Middle School is supported by our specific programs:

  • Diary management
  • Leadership roles in the school
  • Running school assemblies
  • Year 6 participation in Graduation Program
  • Public Speaking
  • Big Brother / Big Sister Program
  • Community involvement in Environmental Programs
  • Enterprise Education
  • Service Learning program
  • Visits to the Wairoa campus & opportunities to work with the Middle School students